A third of teachers have given food to hungry pupils, poll finds

A similar number also said children were falling asleep in class because they were under-nourished

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The Independent Online

Nearly one in three teachers has given food to children in their class because they are too hungry to learn, according to a survey.

The poll, by YouGov for breakfast cereal company Kellogg’s, found 78 per cent of 765 teachers in England and Wales reported children coming to school hungry at least once a week, The Daily Mirror reported. Some 36 per cent said it happened every day and 20 per cent said the problem was worse than last year.

About a third said they had given food to hungry children while some had given them money to buy something to eat. A similar number also said children were falling asleep in class because they were under-nourished.

About 75 per cent said a lack of money to buy food was the reason why children were not getting enough to eat, while 38 per cent said parents appeared to be too busy to provide breakfast.

Chris Keates, head of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said: “Children’s lives are being blighted by poverty and the increasing financial pressures on families.

“Children living in poverty often suffer more ill-health and absenteeism from school and cannot concentrate when they are hungry.

“Teachers and other public service workers are struggling to pick up the pieces caused by this Government’s economic and social policies. It has a responsibility to tackle, not generate, poverty and homelessness.”

One teacher told the NASUWT that five per cent of the children in their school relied on food banks.

Another said: “Increasing numbers of children in my primary school confide that they are hungry and are desperate for lunch time.”